Thursday, December 27, 2018

Cuyamaca College Center for Water Studies Holds 2nd Annual Women in Water Symposium

Girls and women interested in learning about career and advancement opportunities in the water and wastewater industry are encouraged to register for the Cuyamaca College Center for Water Studies’ 2ndannual Women in Water – Exploring Career Pathways symposium on Jan. 17.

The all-day conference comprises two tracks of speakers: one for women contemplating a career change, military veterans transitioning to civilian life, and women already in the water and wastewater industry who are seeking professional development opportunities; the second for scores of high school girls in the region wanting to learn more about career opportunities as they near graduation.

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Deputy General Manager, Sandy Kerl, will be the keynote speaker. Lan Wiborg, Deputy Director of Long-Range Planning and Water Resources for the City of San Diego, will moderate a general manager’s panel discussion that includes Tish Berge, General Manager at the Sweetwater Authority; Cari Dale, Water Utilities Director at the City of Oceanside; and Vicki Quiram, General Manager of the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. Topics of discussion in that and other panels will cover career pathways, the importance of forming mentorships, what it’s like for women to work in what is now a male-dominated field, developing leadership skills, and more.

“The Center for Water Studies is playing a critical role in training the next generation of water and wastewater industry professionals, and the Women in Water symposium offers an unparalleled opportunity to gain insights and develop connections that can lead to a rewarding, good-paying career,” said Center for Water Studies Program Chair Joe Young.

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators in San Diego County were earning an average annual wage of more than $70,000 annually as recently as May 2017, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Grossmont College football standout Jay Williams signs with Florida State University

Jay Williams and Coach Mike Jordan
Jay Williams’ teammates on the Grossmont College football team joke that he never smiles for his photographs. But Williams had a big smile on his face on Dec. 19 when he signed a letter of intent to play for Florida State University.

The 6 foot-6 inch, 290 pound offensive tackle chose the Seminoles among 20 offers he received from universities across the country, including the University of Arkansas, University of Indiana, and the University of Oklahoma. At a signing ceremony alongside Grossmont College Football Coach Mike Jordan, Williams thanked his family, coaches and teammates for believing in him.

“It’s been a long ride,” he said. “It’s a blessing that all of my hard work has paid off. I’m really grateful.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Franziska Collier: Overcoming life's challenges thanks to Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges

Franziska Collier
Franziska Collier has suffered through more than her fair share of bad breaks. Her three young children and Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges keep her going.

“Outside of my kids, Grossmont and Cuyamaca College are my life right now,” said Collier, 41, an honors student with a GPA just shy of 4.0. “It keeps me involved. It keeps me motivated. It keeps me going.”

Her perseverance has led to numerous honors and awards from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, including the Betty D. Krueger Scholarship and the James Rodey Creative Writers Scholarship. The Betty D. Krueger Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding student who writes a compelling essay about the value of attending Grossmont or Cuyamaca College. The James Rodey Young Creative Writers Scholarship, named in memory of a former Grossmont College student, is awarded to a Grossmont College scholar excelling in creative writing.

Collier will be among those honored during a Jan. 12, 2019, scholarship awards ceremony and reception at Cuyamaca College.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Trustees sworn in, officers selected for district Governing Board

L to R: Bill Garrett; Linda Cartwright; Debbie Justeson;
Elena Adams; Brad Monroe
New members Linda Cartwright and Brad Monroe, along with re-elected board member Debbie Justeson, were sworn into office for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board on Dec. 11. 

Cartwright was then unanimously selected to serve as board president for 2019, with Justeson serving as vice president and board member Elena Adams as clerk. 

Cartwright has been a public school teacher for more than 30 years, working as an elementary school teacher in the National School District. She has served as a mentor teacher, a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment coach, and was elected president of the National City Elementary Teachers Association. She was honored with the California Teachers Association WHO Award.
Monroe, a community college educator for 43 years, was founding chair of the Ornamental Horticulture program at Cuyamaca College. He developed the annual Spring Garden Festival, and helped bring the Water Conservation Garden to the college. He was named Horticulturist of the Year by the San Diego Horticulture Society in 2013 and the Irrigation Association’s Person of the Year in 2008.  The Governing Board holds its meetings on the third Tuesday of each month, except in September and December, when they will be held on the second Tuesday. The meetings start at 6:30 p.m. following a closed session. The board meets at Griffin Gate at Grossmont College in even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October and December) and at the Cuyamaca College Student Center in alternate months.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Trio picked for annual classified employee excellence award

Cohesion and excellence are concepts often expressed in threes. The Three Musketeers. The Three Tenors. The Three Wise Men. The Triple Crown. The three Olympic medals.
The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District has a winning trio of its own – the winners of the 2018 Chancellor/Classified Senate Award -- who were lauded Tuesday night by the Governing Board in recognition of their exemplary work.

Gwen Nix

 The jobs of the winners – Rochelle Weiser from Grossmont College; Gwen Nix from Cuyamaca College and Gabriella Avila-Garcia from District Services, are varied, representing the broad expanse of tasks performed by non-instructional staff .
 In recognition of classifieds’ critical role, one member of each college and District Services is chosen each year for the honor and is presented with a trophy, $250 gift certificate, recognition at the statewide Classified
Rochelle Weiser
Leadership Conference and lunch with Chancellor Cindy L. Miles and Governing Board President Bill Garrett.

 “These three award winners reflect a true commitment to excellence in their service to students and campus communities,” Miles said. “Our classified professionals are truly the backbone of the district – they keep our operation running smoothly and their contributions are appreciated beyond measure.” 

 Ariane Ahmadian, Cuyamaca College Classified Senate president, said the yearly award honors classified employees whose job excellence and work ethic inspire others.

"Among our many dedicated professionals are people like this year's winners, who go well beyond the scope of their duties and are consummate and respected members of our district," she said.

Gwen Nix
After 12 years at Cuyamaca College, with the last eight as administrative assistant to the vice president of Student Services, Gwen Nix is known for her institutional knowledge and problem-solving skills. The current vice president, Jessica Robinson, said she came to rely on Nix’s knowledge and sage advice when she began at Cuyamaca College in January. 

 “The professional demeanor, coupled with her enthusiastic and welcoming personality make her a perfect fit as the welcoming face of the vice president of Student Services office,” said Robinson, who nominated Nix for the award.  
Gabriela Avila-Garcia

Robinson also noted Nix’s involvement in many college committees and events, including the annual Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival, the twice-year convocations and Cuyamaca’s recent 40th Anniversary celebration. Her humor and warmth, as well as her professionalism, will be missed by all when she retires next year, Robinson said.

Nix worked for 20 years as an administrative assistant at San Diego State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. After getting her Master of Arts degree in theological studies from Bethel Seminary in San Diego, Nix served a three-year stint as an adjunct instructor for a freshman first-year program at SDSU. When the program ended, Nix decided to leave academia and worked for a year-and-a-half as a resort manager.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Grossmont College recognized as Champion of HIgher Education

Grossmont College was recognized as a Champion of Higher Education by the Campaign for College Opportunity for its work to significantly increase the number of students earning an Associate Degree for Transfer, an associate degree that guarantees transfer to a California State University institution.
“This achievement speaks to the heart of what we do – helping students achieve their educational goals, especially for those who wish to transfer to impacted California State University campuses,” said Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh. The award for the college’s efforts during the 2017-18 academic year was given at a Dec. 4 formal reception in Los Angeles. Grossmont College also ranked:

  • Third place among California community colleges for the high proportion of Associate Degrees for Transfer granted relative to campus enrollment;
  • Sixth place overall in the number of total Associate Degrees for Transfer granted; and
  • Eight place for high growth of Associate Degrees for Transfer granted as compared to the 2016 – 17 academic year.
“This is great cause for celebration for Grossmont College,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “A large thank you is due to our faculty, staff and students who worked so diligently to achieve these results.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Open enrollment begins for spring 2019 at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

Spring semester is just a calendar page away at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and much is in store for the new year. 
Hip-hop classes are among Saturday classes at Grossmont.

Open enrollment begins Tuesday, Dec. 4, for the new semester, which starts Jan. 28 with new courses, first-time programs and more free textbooks used in classes. 

Tuesday is also the first day of open registration for intersession classes, offered Jan. 2-26. The cost of the courses is $46 per unit, with most classes offering three units of college credit. Online registration continues through Jan. 28 for spring 2019 classes via WebAdvisor.

First-time college students may be eligible for free tuition at Grossmont or Cuyamaca College through the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise. Promise students must attend full-time, complete an onboarding program, and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA as a full-time student. Learn more at 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Journey takes former Cuyamaca College student to Ph.D. program

Ritchie Hernandez
Ritchie Hernandez moved to the East County from high school with no car and little money. But he had plenty of ambition. Now, thanks to Cuyamaca College, he’s now thriving at UC San Diego’s Ph.D. program in organic chemistry.

“My training in general chemistry at Cuyamaca College put me head and shoulders above many of my classmates in my undergraduate chemistry courses at UCSD,” Hernandez said. “I would not be where I am without Cuyamaca College. It was just a great environment for me and perfect for what I was looking for.”

Hernandez embodies how Cuyamaca College, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has transformed tens of thousands of lives for the better since its founding in 1978. His journey, though, was unlike almost any other.

Born to deaf parents, Hernandez became conversant in American Sign Language as a toddler. He didn’t speak until he was 3, and his first spoken language was Spanish, which was learned from his paternal grandparents who helped raise him.